A Cold Day on Baker Mountain

McKenzie Mountain seen from the shoulder of Baker Mountain. Photo by Phil Brown.
McKenzie Mountain seen from the shoulder of Baker Mountain. Photo by Phil Brown.

The temperature in Saranac Lake was 25 below when I woke up this morning. By my lunch hour, it had warmed to 2 below, so I decided to hike up Baker Mountain on the outskirts of town.

Despite the temperature, the hike was pleasant. The sun was out, and there was virtually no wind. I was dressed appropriately, so the cold didn’t bother me at all. If anything, I was a bit warm from the exercise when I reached the summit.

Pine branches on Baker.
Pine branches on Baker.

Baker is a favorite hike of locals. Usually, I run into one or two parties, but today I saw no one else. However, the trail was well packed, and I’d guess some of the tracks were made today.

I have skied Baker when conditions are right, but until we get more snow that is out of the question. As I reported yesterday, we barely have enough snow to ski the Jackrabbit Trail to McKenzie Pond.

One good thing about the cold is that we know the snow we do have is not going to melt. It’s supposed to remain frigid throughout the week. The National Weather Service predicts that the temperature will dip to 22 below tonight, 20 below tomorrow night, and 23 below Thursday night. As of now, there are no thaws in the forecast.

Unfortunately, there are no snowstorms in the forecast either. That means backcountry-ski conditions are not going to improve much in the near term. The Adirondack Ski Touring Council won’t even recommend the Marcy Dam Truck Trail (though it has been skied). The council does offer some touring recommendations, including the Hays Brook Truck Trail, Fish Pond Truck Trail, the Burn Road near Little Tupper Lake, and the road to Camp Santanoni.

For reports from the field, check out Adirondack Backcountry Skiing on Facebook.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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